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Thanksgiving is EASY Part 2: Vegetables

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Mashed potatoes are one of then few dishes I can't live without on Thanksgiving. Luckily, it is super-easy. Just make someone else peel the potatoes. Peeling is an easy thing to do while watching TV, so recruit those football fans. You can also peel them Wednesday, and as long as you keep them covered with water, they will not discolor much.

I don't do the green bean casserole thing. It's a love-it-or-hate-it dish. I have my own version of green beans. If you use the skinny French kind, called haricot vertes you won't have to trim the ends. Definite time-saver. Sometimes they are sold pre-packaged, like baby carrots. Ask the produce guy.

(The shopping lists can be copy and pasted together, or used separately if you are bringing a dish to someone else's house)

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Recipes after the jump

SHOPPING LIST:

Baking potatoes
1 pint whipping cream
2 pounds haricot verte
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
1 quart chicken broth (for everything)
1 shallot

(You should already have: butter, salt and pepper)

MASHED POTATOES

1 medium baking potato per person, then a few more. I would always rather have leftover potatoes than not enough. Be generous.

Cut them into chunks. The smaller the chunks, the faster they cook. Physics. Poke at them with a fork until they are almost falling apart and you can't see a white core in the middle. Drain (This is a good "helper job for strong arms).

Pour potatoes back into the pot and cook over low heat a few minutes to remove excess moisture. Add about 1 Tablespoon butter for every 5 medium baking potatoes. Mash. Some people use a ricer, or whip them with a mixer. I like good, old-fashioned mashing. This also requires, good old-fashioned elbow grease, so grab a helper. Add a little whipping cream, about 1 Tablespoon for every 5 potatoes. Keep adding butter and cream until you are happy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Shortcut: Buy cute little new potatoes. They don't have to be peeled. Scrub, boil, drain and mix with a lot of butter.

GREEN BEANS

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2 pounds haricot verte
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
3 cups chicken broth
4 Tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.

(Make this Wednesday)

Rinse green beans. Wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth to clean. Cut off tough stems. Slice mushrooms about 1/2" thick.

Put green beans in a medium-sized saucepan. Pour chicken broth over. Add water until green beans are covered.

Cook over medium heat until al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.

In a frying pan, melt butter. Add shallot and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mushrooms change from white to a transluscent beige.

Pour green beans and mushrooms into a large bowl and toss. Refrigerate.

Thursday, warm up in a low oven or the microwave. Just before serving, season. This is where freshly ground pepper and a nice salt make all the difference.

Shortcut: Toss bagged baby carrots with melted butter and a little olive oil. Throw in some fresh rosemary and thyme. Roast at 400 degrees about 40 minutes. Steam some broccoli or whatever is easy.

Photo by Plastic Revolver vis Flickr